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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Zen and the Art of Frisbee

I had the day off from work today. And what a perfect day it was to be free from work. The sun was out, the birds and butterflies were fluttering about, the greenery looked greener, the flowers smelled flowery, and it wasn't unbearably hot outside. (You'll find cooler weather in hell during the summer months in Houston. Note: Summer months in Houston begin in February and end in December.) Not wanting to waste the day inside, I called up my friend, Guy #3, and forced him to accompany me in my day of outdoor fun and randomness.

We were searching for things to do, so long as they involved being outside, and Guy #3 suggested that we go to a park and play frisbee, at which point I screamed in terror and begged Guy #3 not to make me throw and catch a frisbee. But he insisted that we do it, so I proceeded to make up lies as to why I should not play frisbee.

Lie #1: I've never thrown a frisbee before. I don't know how to do it.
Truth #1: Throwing a frisbee is as American as Apple Pie. And I am as American as an Apple Empanada. So of course I've played frisbee before...but probably only like 3 times in my life.

Lie #2: I have frisbee-phobia.
Truth #2: No I don't. It's a plastic disc. Who's afraid of that?

Lie #3: I have a fear of things flying towards my face.
Truth #3: If I really had this fear, then my social life would be out the door. Hehehe...

But being the fabulously nice person that I am, I finally agreed to play Guy #3's silly little game until he got tired of my fussing about how much I didn't want to play, and we quit. Our entire frisbee session lasted about 3 minutes.

Anyway, we spent the rest of the day drinking icees/Dr. Peppers, shopping, walking, annoying suburban mothers at the lake, and trying to break playground equipment. So aside from the frisbee fiasco, it was a great day.

But later on that evening, I got to thinking about that damn frisbee. Why didn't I want to play? Did I really have frisbee-phobia?

So here's what I came up with: I'm a perfectionist. I have a fear of failure. I've played frisbee before and I know that I don't play it well. I've never been good at catching flying objects and I can't throw a frisbee, ball, newspaper, or whatever to save my life. I am horrible at playing frisbee and am well aware of that fact. I am a frisbee failure. And since I don't like to talk about or share the failures in my life, I instead flee from them. Hence, the frisbee hissy fit that I threw today.

But why am I so afraid of failure? I could sit here and tell you that it has everything to do with my parents. Straight A's in school were never good enough for them. Instead they wanted A+'s with gold stars and smiley faces grafittied all over my school work. They wanted me to be a doctor, a lawyer, a rocket scientist, a success in life. They wanted me to be polite, courteous, talented, and graceful. But you know what? None of that is true. Not one iota of it. My parents NEVER put those kinds of expectations on me. The only thing my parents ever expected from me was for me to always put my best foot forward...to always give it my all...to always be the best that I can be. Whether that resulted on an A on a test, or a position in medical school, or as class validictorian did not matter to them. Just as long as I could say that I did the best that I could. When I decided not to go to medical school, my parents were behind me 100%. When I decided to quit my second semester of Organic Chemistry in order to spend more time with my recently re-diagnosed-with-cancer fiance, they were behind me all the way. When I decided to stay in Texas after my husband died, in lieu of moving back home with them, they helped me find a house in the Lone Star state. My parents have always supported me, no matter what I did. So my quest to be perfect is self imposed. And I can't, for the life of me, figure out why.

But maybe, by trying to avoid failure, I have, in fact, failed. Because by not attempting to try things at which I am not good (i.e. playng frisbee,) I have failed to give it my all. I have failed to try to make myself better. I have failed at doing what I always claim to do: live life. My fear of failure is holding me back. So what if I'm not good a playing frisbee? I should at least get out there and try to learn, right? I should at least get out there and have fun with it. Just as my parents love me no matter what I accomplish, Guy #3 isn't going to like me any more or less based on my frisbee playing abilities. So why should I be afraid to fail at it?

So bring on the frisbee, Guy #3. I dare you. This time I'll actually try to play. I'll actually try to learn and improve. Maybe I'll be really good at it and become a professional frisbee player and Nike will sponsor me and start manufacturing pink Nike frisbees that say, "Just fling it." Maybe frisbee throwing will become an Olympic event and I'll win the gold medal and get to be on a box of Wheaties and on Jay Leno and talk about how my friend, Guy #3, made me play frisbee and how I hated it at first, but then I became totally awesome at it and now's he's all jealous of my frisbee playing skills. Maybe I'll make millions of dollars, playing frisbee all around the world, and people will ooh and aah and talk about how frisbee players make way too much money and how more money should be given to people like teachers. Or maybe I'll still suck at frisbee. But at least I will be able to say that I gave it my all.

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posted by The Merry Widow at 1:46 AM |


Commented by Blogger Random and Odd:

I've missed reading your stuff. Damn blogger!!

I have much to catch up on.

March 30, 2005 4:33 PM 

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